A string of brutal murders has bodies piling up in Brooklyn, and Detective Frankie Donovan knows what is going on. Clues left at the crime scenes point to someone from the old neighborhood, and that isn’t good.
Frankie has taken two oaths in his life – the one he took to uphold the law when he became a cop, and the one he took with his two best friends when they were eight years old and inseparable. Those relationships have forced Frankie to make many tough decisions, but now he faces the toughest one of his life; he has five murders to solve and one of those two friends is responsible. If Frankie lets him go, he breaks the oath he took as a cop and risks losing his job. But if he tries to bring him in, he breaks the oath he kept for twenty-five years – and risks losing his life.
In the neighborhood where Frankie Donovan grew up, you never broke an oath.
After finishing Murder Takes Time, I found myself in awe of Giammatteo’s talent. I’ve never been a fan of books centered around the mob, but I’m so glad I had the opportunity to read this novel.
The book’s main theme is that of friendship and honour. These words are used throughout the book as the code that four young Italian boys live by. As children, they are inseparable and unwavering in their loyalty to each other. However, as they grow older, their lives go down different paths and their promise of friendship and honour forever is greatly tested.
Murder Takes Time has a mesmerizing narrative. It immediately draws you into the story and it hooks you within the first couple of chapters. There’s a slightly gory beginning, but the story is still so magnetic. Each of the main characters are very well-developed and really distinct. They all have their own faults and demons, but each is willing to fight for what they believe in. Giammatteo uses a non-linear timeline and in the hands of other authors it could have been clunky or convoluted, but he does it effortlessly with seamless transitions. There are periods within chapters where the POV shifts to another character, but this is done without awkwardness. I have to applaud Giammatteo for being able to do this.
During the book, Frankie is forced to face both the cop and gangster side of himself. As readers, we sympathize with his predicament and his confusion, but we see each character’s motivation and desires. This makes it hard to know who to root for, but it’s this aspect that makes the book brilliant. There is no black and white, no right or wrong, and no easy answer. Just like in life, we are forced to acknowledge our internal conflicts and do what we think is right.
Giammatteo has written an extremely engaging story about friendship, honour, love, loss, and redemption. The dynamics between the four is impeccably written. An excellent, compelling read. Highly recommended.